Sunday, December 02, 2012

Facts, statistics and lies

Data from the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) 2012 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings shows the median weekly earnings of Scots, at £497.60, were higher in any part of the UK outside London and the southeast, growing 2.6% year on year. This figure represents a real terms fall, in light of CPI inflation of 3% during that period. Women's waages were significantly under at a 0.6% increase, the slowest rise in the UK other than in northeast England, where women's wages actually fell by 0.5%.

David Bell
, professor of economics at Stirling University, warned that the rise may be a symptom of an increased loss of lower-paid jobs, pushing the median figure further up the scale. He said: "What might have happened is that a lot of the people who lost their jobs in Scotland are at the bottom end of the wage distribution, and if falling employment is concentrated in the bottom, that moves the median up. Our labour market performance hasn't been that great lately and the unemployment trend has been going in the wrong direction for a few months. Paradoxically, rising median rates may be consistent with that. It doesn't necessarily mean that the economy is booming. I don't think there is evidence of great upward wage pressure in the Scottish economy."
STUC assistant secretary Stephen Boyd explained "Most workers are still experiencing what [Bank of England governor] Mervyn King has described as the longest period of falling real wages since the 1920s."

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